Rejoice, friends, for the season of weird, pasty, white skin is over as summer is upon us. It is a simple fact of life that everyone looks better with a tan. That sweet, sun-kissed glow inevitably brings out the light in your eyes, the golden highlights in your hair, and your inner goddess as you flit around in a white sundress (to compliment your tan, of course). It may be tempting to throw on your bathing suit and bake in the sun until your skin turns an unhealthy shade of red– burn and turn, am I right? Error. There are healthy, safe ways to get the best tan of your life, and we’ve outlined seven tips to keep your skin healthy and glowy below.
I am going to put this first, as otherwise most of you would likely skip right over it. It may seem counter-intuitive to put on something that blocks the sun when you’re out here trying to get as much of it as you can. The truth is that, contrary to popular belief, you can and will still tan with sunscreen on. I was shocked when I learned this fact as well. In fact, the higher the SPF, the longer time you can spend in the sun with incurring skin damage, which means the longer time to tan! Apply your SPF approximately 15 to 30 minutes before you go in the sun, and then re-apply 15 to 30 minutes after you’ve been exposed. Only reapply if you do any aquatic activities where your sunscreen could have been removed. Interested in finding the best sunscreen for tanning? Read more here.
If you have ever experienced the true horror that is a splotchy tan, you know the importance of exfoliation. Exfoliating your skin prior to tanning removes the dead cells from the uppermost layer of your skin and allows for fresh skin to appear. The less build-up of dead skin cells, the more evenly you’ll tan, and the longer your tan will last!
Ha ha. Supplements for the sun. Get it?
I’m pretty sure there’s a supplement for everything, honestly, including tanning. Those creams that claim they will “accelerate your tan” are totally fake news– nothing you apply to your skin will help you increase melanin production, which is the pigment in your skin that helps you tan. A supplement that you ingest, however, will do exactly that! Try taking 25 grams of a beta-caretone supplement every morning, which will help your skin prepare for the sun and protect it from any damage, while also helping you getting a better tan.
I love eating but I really love eating when it helps with my natural lewk as well. In this case, certain foods are known to increase lypocene, which is the skins natural SPF. Lypocene is an antioxidant found in foods like tomatoes, and other red, orange and dark green fruits and veggies (think kale and carrots!). In fact, one of the best sources is tomato paste– so bring on the spaghetti bowls. If you’re left craving dessert, not to worry– dark chocolate helps protect against sunburns as well. Who said you can’t have your cake and eat it too?
Your skin reaches a tanning cut-off point when it physically can’t product any more melanin (the pigment that tans your skin), so it’s pointless (and boring?) to bake in the sun by the pool all day. A person’s typical melanin cut-off is about two to three hours, but can be much less if you have fair skin. That is assuming you’re wearing SPF, of course! Once you reach that point, you’re subjecting your skin to the risk of UV damage. Aka, a serious burn.
The better your skin heals from the sun, the better your tan will set, and the more golden and healthy your skin will look. The only time your skin can heal, is when it’s out of direct sunlight. Therefore, do yourself, and your skin, a favour and take breaks from time spent in the sun before trekking outdoors again. Go inside, enjoy the AC, make a healthy snack, and re-emerge looking like a bronzed babe.
Those micro-shades you bought aren’t just a trend worn by Bella and Gigi- they’re the best way to protect yourself from sun damage. The skin around your eyes, as well as your eyes themselves, are very sensitive to UV rays. Take it from me– last weekend I laid out of my roof for an hour and applied sunscreen everywhere except for my eyelids. I promptly fell asleep and upon checking out my sweet new tan in the mirror, discovered that I had literally burnt my eyes. It was like a reverse raccoon, and it was terrifying. Asides from an eyelid burn, however, failure to take care fo yrou eyes can result in the development of eye diseases like cataract, and eye cancer. Sunglasses protect your eyes, just make sure not to fall asleep with them on and end up looking like this.
COVER IMAGE: @jasoncampbellstudio